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Few Consumers Add Earthquake Insurance to Basic Homeowners Insurance

Though California remains an area that is prone to earthquakes, few consumers add earthquake coverage to their basic homeowners insurance. According to a report form the Insurance Information Network of California, a surprisingly low 12 percent of all California homeowners had earthquake coverage in 2010, while an even lower 10 percent of all businesses had it. These numbers are even lower when the amount of home and business owners without any insurance at all is factored into the equation.

On Thursday, October 20th, an estimated 8 million California residents participated in the Great California ShakeOut, designed to allow people to practice how to respond in the event of the Big One—a major earthquake such as the 1854 quake in Bakersfield. Experts have calculated that if a disaster of the same magnitude were to happen again today, it would cause approximately $150 billion dollars in damages to homes. Yet despite people’s awareness and their willingness to participate in emergency exercises, few are prepared to pay the approximately $800 a year in earthquake coverage on top of their basic homeowners insurance.

Besides times being tough economically for many consumers, another reason to not have earthquake coverage is that the deductible in event of a claim is either 10 or 15 percent of a home’s insurance value. For a home that’s insured for $200,000, that’s a deductible of $30,000 on the standard 15 percent deductible—and this has to be paid before any coverage kicks in. And for millions of homeowners nowadays, that’s simply too much money to raise.

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